Frustration Breeds Failure



     The clip above is from an episode of The Golden Girls. This is one of my guilty pleasures. I often watch them while on the treadmill. As I struggle to make my legs leaner and my behind tighter I would rather see older women, with real bodies, dealing with many of the problems we all face as we age than a 20 something starlet with her silicone parts and charmed life. No offense to the 20 something, but she is more likely to frustrate than inspire me .

     There are several episodes of The Golden Girls where the ladies go on diets, usually ending with a binge of some sort or a decision to “put off until tomorrow what we should have done today”. Very real life in my opinion. I’ve been through many weight loss failures before finding this success. What’s different? I have eliminated frustration!

     Frustration occurs on so many levels for the average dieter – hunger, temptation, low energy, low self-esteem, indecision, glitches in the plan, unsure of where to start, unsure of when to stop. There are so many things to take into consideration and so much becomes important all at once when we start a new weight loss plan.

     I am so proud of my friend Carol! This week she has decided and publicly proclaimed that she is making one change at a time as she pursues her weight loss goals. This is awesome! This is genuine! This is workable! This is the kind of thinking that leads to real, permanent change! Instead of the “New Year’s Resolution” thinking where we vow to suddenly be a new person who eats 1000 calories a day, rips it at the gym, and “leaps tall building in a single bound” we should find ways to improve the daily living in the life we lead. Be in it for the long haul like Carol and you will succeed. Remember, short-term thinking creates short-term results. We don’t want short-term results. We want to be strong, slim, and sexy for life! Congratulations to Carol for eliminating the frustration of overload.

     Two of the most common frustrations and biggest killers of the weight loss effort are hunger and temptation. These go hand in hand!  We see the hunger element with Blanch in the above clip. She is so anxious for the next “feeding” that she almost can’t contain herself. When the food she had planned is out of reach, she goes ballistic. Hunger makes me cranky and short-tempered too. In addition, If I’m hungry for long I start giving into impulses, being swayed by the temptation of junk food,  rather than working the well thought out plan. If you are on an eating plan that leaves you often feeling a gnawing in your belly or going to bed starved, you really might want to reconsider. Try readjusting your number of carbs or calories. Maybe work with a nutritionist or online program like the SparkPeople menu planner to find ways to better pre-arrange an eating plan that includes more food for the points, calorie, or carb “buck”, so to speak. Eat often (I eat every couple of hours). Small snacks with protein help to keep me full. Use aroma therapy to “fill the senses” before filling the stomach (see Slimdown With Scents). With peppermint oil, I don’t just smell it, I also dab a little on pulse points and feel the energizing tingle. Make sure to not trycutting yourself off from favorite foods. Make a plan that allows all things you love in moderation. Hunger and temptation are diet killers. Take charge over them.

    Another frustration we sometimes face is when we think we’ve found a solution to our weight dilemma in a new plan or product and IT fails US. My own best example of that is the Adipex/Low Carb period.

     One day when I was in my late twenties I found myself in a new town with a UTI and no doctor. At the recommendation of a friend I made an emergency appointment with a gynecologist who also happened to be a reproductive specialist. Upon reading my answers to his questioner he became very serious. He proceeded to have a conversation with me about his suspicion that I suffered from Metabolic Syndrome X and associated PCOS. He showed me on an ultrasound a series of cyst on my ovaries and began to discuss the likelihood of troubles conceiving should I wish to have biological children. He also stressed that the problems went much further with insulin resistance (pre-diabeties) and high cholesterol likely. Both the high cholesterol  and the insulin resistance were confirmed upon testing with my endocrinologist. The gynecologist then told me to go home and indefinitely eat only 3 meal a day consisting of 6 oz of lean meat and a salad. He gave me a prescription for Adipex (a questionable diet medication) and was ready to send me on my way when I reminded him I was there about a UTI. I had a bit of information overload but with prescriptions in hand I complied. Weight loss followed but at a high price.

     The diet worked well, in the beginning. I felt empowered that I had a plan. However, with a very narrow list of foods that I was permitted to eat,  it began to feel like I was sentenced to living on “The 12 Day Grapefruit Diet” forever. What sin had I committed to deserve this? Getting fat of course! So I took my punishment. I ate little slabs of meat and piles of lettuce. In a short time I began to feel more and more hungry and restricted. I was on the road a lot and at this point in time “low carb” was not on everyone’s lips, so getting a salad and small piece of lean meat at a fast food restaurant wasn’t easy. I found a semi-solution, ordering burgers without the bun and calling the lettuce and tomato my salad but I was a big girl, about 190 lbs at that point and I wasn’t full on a burger or chicken sandwich with no bun three times a day. I got hungry and bored I began to fudge on the plan, eventually giving up the eating style all together. A plan that was less restrictive and more conducive to my particular lifestyle would have worked better. The frustration of the limitations and difficulty of obtaining the right foods contributed to the failure.

     The Adipex was basically legalized speed. Having suffered from serious fatigue for several years, as seems to be a common problem for Thyroid Cancer survivors such as myself, I was intoxicated by the energy the Adipex supplied.  The boost of the Adipex felt amazing!  However its side effects, many of which I would eventually experience, included insomnia, hypertension, blurred vision, heartburn/acid reflux, diarrhea, nausea, arrhythmia,  and even bouts of mania and psychosis.  Soon I was going 24 hours a day. I worked as an independent contractor doing merchandising and mystery shopping  jobs at the time. I worked in department stores, grocery store, and restaurants. Some of them were open all night. So with this new synthetic energy I worked around the clock for two or three days at a time. Time for a refill came and a couple of local pharmacies were no longer carrying Adipex so I went a day and a half without it. I was beside myself .I had become dependent on the un-natural high. I was desperate to get my hands on it. I am glad that I was only without if for a couple of days. The withdraw symptoms include depression, tremors, dizziness, drowsiness and debilitating fatigue. Once I had my high back I went back into round-the-clock mode. I kept this up for weeks. After having been gone on one of my “2 day with no sleep” assignments and then lying down for a few hours, I started to get out of bed and though the spirit was willing, the body wouldn’t cooperate. I found that I had swollen glands all in my neck and the back of my head. The bottom had dropped out. My very concerned husband found a family practitioner willing to see me on short notice. She was very kind and very concerned. She told me that she believed this was an unavoidable result of my body having lived on this very un-natural high for so long. She began to slowly wean me off the Adipex and warned me that I wouldn’t think I was “wonder woman” anymore. But I wanted to be Wonder Woman! I didn’t enjoy the idea of returning to low energy ME. This was frustrating. I had my medical miracle and it was dissolving before me. She explained to me that the dieting I had been doing previously was an over extreme version of a low-carb approach and that I might find excellent results if I did some research and broadened my horizons. With the proper education she thought a South Beach Diet type approach might work well. At the time though, I wasn’t  just frustrated I was devastated by the loss of what I had seen as my salvation. I didn’t continue my efforts at all. I eventually gained back every pound and about 40 more before finding the balanced approach that led to success and energy.

     Finding the right approach is key. Do you find making a decision about how to go about loosing weight frustrating or confusing? There are a lot of plans out there and most offer some real possibility of success. You need to do some soul-searching about what a proper approach for you will consist of. Do you need structure or flexibility? Are you ready to count carbs or calories? Do you struggle with emotional eating? Do you need something more than diet and exercise? Most chemical or quick fix approaches have nasty side effects. Don’t buy into them quickly or blindly. Vitamins and proper supplements can be a win though. Using a plan or product that is wrong for you will lead to frustration and maybe even illness. Take the quiz at the end of “Experts Weigh In” , if you haven’t. Consider talking to a doctor you know and trust about a good option. These steps can help you find the right fit so you can avoid the wrong plan ending in frustration.

     Unrealistic expectations go right along with wrong approach. Often we set out to lose too much too quickly. We set goals to workout like a marathon runner when we’re usually a couch dweller. We vow to eat only salads and bean sprouts until we’re thin as a bean sprout. Make sure you are being kind to your body and mind and setting reachable goals. Start out with the first pound or 5 pounds. Work at a pace that’s right for you. Recognize that we didn’t gain the weight over night and it won’t be lost in a day or two.

     Weight loss endeavors that start off with proclamations like “I’m going to lose weight this year” or “I’m going on a diet” are failures in the making. These aren’t specific enough goals. Make sure your commitments to yourself are put in writing and that you make a game plan. Then if the goal seems unrealistic or the steps are too complicated readjust the plan. Keep the plan in front of you. Know where you are headed and what you will do to get there (see Stepping Stones). Knowing that I have 40 lbs to lose this year (10 down already). I can easily track progress on the Weight Tracker to see if  I’m achieving the desired results. If I get behind, I know that I need to up my game by adding more healthy physical activity or reducing the calories within my healthy range. Knowing that I’ve committed to getting in 8 miles each week, keeps me on the treadmill. If the goal was simply “I’m going to exercise” it would be much easier to put it off from one tomorrow to the next. If I need to get in 8 miles and on Thursday haven’t started, I’m looking at a rough weekend. This encourages me to do the Tuesday and Wednesday miles. If I miss a day, I know exactly what to do to catch up. If I have a vague goal to “lose some weight” and a weak commitment to “do more exercise” I fail to notice that I’m not following through well. Then I get frustrated that I’ve failed to lose the weight or better my health. Specific goals are a real key to success.

     Low energy your problem? The weight itself can contribute to this as can a number of different health and lifestyle factors. Do some honest evaluation.  After working with a series of physicians over about 2 decades I’ve found out that clinical depression, thyroid hormone levels,, clinically low vitamin D levels, and insulin resistance have all played a part in my energy issue. In addition so have a low activity level, poor diet, and poor sleep habits. If you are suffering from a lack of energy your doctor can do tests to check hormone levels, blood sugar levels, and make sure you aren’t showing signs of vitamin deficiency. Are you getting 8 hours of sleep a night and is it quality sleep? Physical issues such as acid reflux and sleep apnea may be robbing you of zzz’s without your being aware of it. Does your current diet (either calorie restricted or poor nutritional content) give you the proper balance to provide and sustain energy? Are you active? Too tired to do push ups and run? It’s ok. Start small. Add 15 minutes of walking 3 times a week to get you started. You might be surprised at how much your energy levels improve from little changes. Don’t let a lack of oomph get in your way. Begin seeking solutions today.

     Is your life chaotic? Does it frustrate you when you have the menu planned and  the exercise scheduled then something comes up to throw it all off? Flexibility is key. Make good choices in the moment. Can’t make it to the gym? Try running in place in front of the tv or walking around the block. Unexpected dinner engagement? Ask the restaurant if they have nutritional information on their foods or eat items that are basic and that you are familiar with. A garden salad with salsa for dressings and a piece of grilled chicken will be nearly the same calories, points, or carbs almost anywhere. Lack of flexibility leads to frustration, so Bend In The Wind (see Bend In The Wind for more).

     Does it seem like you do the work but the results are never enough? Are you guilty of thinking, “It doesn’t matter. It won’t be enough, no matter what I do?” Extra pounds do a number on our self-esteem. It’s easy to feel like the efforts aren’t paying off even when you are on the right track. At 220 pounds, I couldn’t tell a visible difference from 230. It was hard to stay mindful that the hard work really was worth it, when I couldn’t see it. I felt ugly and lacked self-worth. Would I do the work and still see myself as ugly? Was I worth the effort.? Yes, I was and so are you! Affirmations really helped me stay on track in those early days(see Think Yourself Thin). I needed to remind myself of who I was, why I was worth it, who I was going to be, and why it was important. Ladies and Gents we are so much more than the number on a set of scales or the size printed in a pair of jeans. We have lovely smiles, beautiful eyes, winning personalities and killer determination. Our families and friends love and need us. We’re God’s precious creations. We are each unique, precious, special and part of a great plan! Failing to recognize our worth will lead to frustration. Remember who you are. You are Special.

     Pinpoint the frustrations that have stumped you in the past. Give some honest consideration to what is standing between you and the weight you wish to lose. Is it frustration or commitment. If it’s frustration work to find better options. I can honestly say that as I lose the weight I find myself ever more fulfilled. I don’t go hungry. If I really want something, I work it into my calories for the day or burn it off with exercise. I exercise and enjoy the satisfaction of it. I feel greater energy and beauty each step along the way! I am making additional changes, one small change at a time to improve my over all health. Permanent weight loss without frustration is possible with long-term commitment.  If it’s commitment you lack, eliminate the excuses and get on board! Woo Woo! This train is going places!       


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